Playing rugby at the international level is not a foreign concept for Maria Samson. The 31 year old has played in every fifteens test match since her debut against South Africa on August 2, 2011 in Oakville, ON, adding up to a grand total of 11 international games.
The Quebec native has been playing rugby on and off since high school, and consistently since 2008 when she moved to Calgary, AB. She doesn’t have time to do much else now; if she is not training she is either rehabbing or coaching in her spare time outside of work. Everything she’s been doing has been in preparation for the 2014 World Cup happening this summer, and she can’t imagine doing anything else.
This summer Canada will compete at the Women’s Rugby World Cup (WRWC) and Samson knows it will take hard work and dedication for the whole team if Canada wants to come out on top.
“Rugby is one of those really neat sports where one individual cannot carry a team on its shoulders. You need a full team of committed athletes in order to be successful; everyone must pull their own weight,” Samson explained.
The WRWC is the premiere international competition for women’s rugby and 2014 will be the seventh edition of the quadrennial event. The competition is being held in France in August 2014, and Canada has been placed in a competitive pool.
“WRWC is the showcase events for Women’s Rugby in the World. I think we have a fantastic pool with England, Samoa and Spain. Having England in our pool is something extra special as we have a continuous rivalry with them via Nations Cup,” Samson said.
“I think the England versus Canada game will be one of the most exciting pool games of the tournament.”
Canada has a history with England, squaring off twice at Nations Cup last summer where Canada came out with two victories including a 27-13 win in the Grand Final. This was the first time Canada had beaten England in Fifteens in over 20 years. Most recently, the Red Roses defeated Canada with a final score of 32-3, during a three-match tour in England during November 2013. This loss has left Canada with a burning desire for a victory in their next match, this is sure to make the 2014 World Cup an exciting event.
Since receiving her first cap in 2011, Samson’s main focus has been on this tournament.
“It would make me extremely proud to be selected for the World Cup team. It has been my focus since getting my first cap and I would like to contribute as much as possible to the team’s success,” she said.
“Being selected for World Cup is only the first step, getting selected for games while there and having top performances as a team is the next.”
The team has five months to train their hardest so they can compete at their best at this world stage competition. It is a moment each of these athletes dreams of and for Samson it is one she will never take for granted.
“It means everything to wear the team Canada jersey,” Samson said.
“Every pre-game National Anthem, I’ve shed at least one tear. I often have to stop singing completely for fear of breaking into a full on cry. It never gets old to pull on the Maple Leaf.”